Nice Power Brick. But Will It Fly?

This battery promises to charge 98 per cent of mobile devices and add up to 20 hours to the iPad's operating time. I just wish it didn't look quite so explosive.

What you're looking at is the PADACS Ultracharge, a battery charger for, it's claimed, 98 per cent of current mobile devices. It's essentially just a whacking great big lithium polymer battery with a bunch of interchangeable tips and a couple of USB charging ports inbuilt. It's selling for $119.95, which makes it a costly mobile battery charger, although it is packing a fair bit more juice than many competitors. You charge its 12000mAh battery for five hours, and it'll give you 2-4 hours of compatible notebook charge and a claimed 15-20 hours charging of an iPad.

Whether that's 15-20 additional hours or just an extra five or so on top of the iPad's battery life isn't clear, but I'll have the chance to test that later this month when I fly to the UK. Or at least when it showed up for testing that was my initial thought, but having had a proper look at the unit, I'm not so sure I'd get it on the plane.

I mean, look at it. It's a menacing black box with a counter at the top that (and I swear I'm not making this up) glows when you switch it on. It's even worse when plugged into a wall socket, when it glows in a progressive sequence as it charges. I've honestly got my doubts about whether an airport scanner would look at this and pass it over or take me away to that little room at the side with the rubber gloves for a "special interview".


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